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decay and boom

Queenstown today holds as many people as at any time in the last sixty years and covers a larger area than ever before. New streets of houses have sprung up both north and south, and they now stretch in a tight array, two miles down the narrow valley and up so many hills and gullies that only a high-altitude aerial photo can take in all the settlement. The town is so freshly painted that, from the surrounding hills, it resembles a mosaic of red roofs with odd dabs of green, blue and grey. Despite its isolation, it has all the facilities for a strong community life: eighteen halls… six hotels, all large two-storied buildings more than half a century old, and two new motels; two radio stations and two television masts that relay pictures from the other side of the island; a golf course on the river flats, and the churches, lodges, bands, sporting clubs, common to every Australian town.
- Geoffrey Blainey, 1954

finally finished the book last week, 2 months after the mines closed.


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